In what amounted to a Turkish take on “It’s a Wonderful Life,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan found himself in the role of Clarence the angel, rescuing George Bailey from suicide.
ISTANBUL — Turkey’s president has often been described as a rhetorical tactician and “man of the people” who excels at rebuttals and rejoinders. But on Friday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan used his skills to save a despondent man who planned to jump off the Bosporus Bridge in Istanbul.
In what amounted to a Turkish take on “It’s a Wonderful Life,” Erdogan found himself in the role of Clarence the angel, rescuing George Bailey from suicide.
Erdogan saw the man while crossing over the bridge in his presidential convoy after attending a Friday prayer service. He ordered his driver to stop and summoned the man to his car, according to local news reports.
Video images showed a middle-aged man in a cap being intercepted by Erdogan’s bodyguards, who said the president wanted to speak with him. The man, who at first appeared confused, cooperated after he got a glimpse of the president in the armored limousine.
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He started sobbing at the sight of Erdogan and kissed his hand. The man was then seen conversing with the president, who dissuaded him from taking his life after making some calls to authorities and ordering them to help, the semiofficial Anadolu News Agency reported.
The man had come to Istanbul from the eastern city of Siirt and was experiencing severe depression, Turkish news reports said.